Nicky (Smith) is an experienced con-man, together with his team they steal watches, bags, wallets, purses and most lucratively credit cards. The team find taking cards and replacing them, ensures they have a window to exploit the credit available before reported as stolen.
Basing your film on characters deliberately targeting holiday makers and ordinary folk, making their life a misery and living off the proceeds, better be likeable. Essentially these are low life’s, however smart, witty and well dressed they appear.
Of course these are movie thieves not real life, so the team live the high life in flash hotels and remain seemingly free from any real danger.
Jess (Margot Robbie) joins the team after a poor “job interview” but her persistence pays off and the team find a use for her stunning looks, quick thinking and sleight of hand.
Following his fathers advice, Nicky has a rule, never mix business with pleasure, yet as the film progresses this distinction starts to be tested.
Nicky moves onto bigger stakes, high rolling Chinese gamblers and ultimately motor racing. The bigger the stakes, the larger the risk, in more ways than one.
Smith and Robbie create some movie chemistry together and team member Adrian Martinez as “Farhad”, adds a colourful turn of phrase and levity to the proceedings.
Robbie effortlessly continues her ascent to “A” list talent, following her turn in “Wolf of Wall Street”. Smith plays his usual role, albeit with the motor-mouth toned down to reasonable levels, adding glimpses of thought and quiet to the role.
The film ultimately aims for a high class caper or heist movie and despite failing to fully deliver on the promise, the film remains fun throughout. There are plot holes and any reality is somewhat tenuous, despite the real world low level scams outlined, which will certainly exist.
Joint directors and writers Glen Ficarra & John Requa attempt to muddy the moral and ethical emptiness of the characters towards the conclusion. Almost as if the directors believe the characters cannot really pull off the trick of making the audience like them, as they truly are.
But overall Will Smith is in need of a hit and whilst not in ID4 or MIB box office territory, this will do quite nicely for now.
A film falling sometimes uncomfortably between a screw-ball caper movie and a semi serious look at the shady world of con artists.
Whilst the ultimate pay-off is not as dramatic expected, this remains an enjoyable evenings entertainment.